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Benitez appointment the final straw for Everton star close to Italian exit

Everton’s appointment of Rafael Benitez as their new manager has reportedly pushed James Rodriguez towards the exit door at Goodison Park.

The midfielder was one of, if not the, marquee signings of last summer’s transfer window. He didn’t quite make the impression on the Premier League that Toffees fans were hoping for, though. Despite this, he possesses quality that few others in the Premier League do. Therefore, he is a prized asset.

However, the shock departure of Carlo Ancelotti threw his future into question.

The Colombian offered some hope of staying for another season despite Ancelotti leaving for Real Madrid. He said he was ‘fine’ with staying at Everton.

But this no longer appears to be the case. According to the Colombian edition of MARCA, via Sport Witness, the 29-year-old has been encouraged to look elsewhere by Benitez’s arrival.

The two parties had a public falling out during the 2015-16 season at Madrid. They have not resolved their issues in the years since.

As such, Rodriguez will now look to find a new club for next season to avoid ‘living the nightmare’ of working under Benitez again.

What’s more, the report states the lack of ambition by the Everton hierarchy in the transfer market is also a factor in his desire to move away.

His exit now looks almost certain. Naturally, connections were made to another reunion with Ancelotti and a return to the Bernabeu.

However, a different destination is on the cards. AC Milan are apparently close to completing a deal.

Milan were one of three teams that the player was offered to by his agent. The other clubs were Napoli and Atletico Madrid.

Benitez facing battle with Spurs

Meanwhile, Tottenham have reportedly joined Everton in the race to sign a striker who impressed at Euro 2020.

Bayer Leverkusen attacker Patrik Schick bagged 13 Bundesliga goals last season. He followed it up with five more strikes at the Euros as the Czech Republic reached the quarter-finals.

Denmark eventually put an end to their run. But the 25-year-old put himself in the shop window with his performances.

New Toffees boss Rafa Benitez is keeping tabs on the player, especially given Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s links to Manchester United and Arsenal. But he’s not the only one…

READ MORETottenham to rival Everton for €40m Euro 2020 attacking sensation


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